Import Assistance for Animal Specimens into the U.S.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) plays a crucial role in safeguarding the nation's animal and poultry health by regulating the importation of animals and animal-derived materials. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and its Veterinary Services (VS) division are responsible for implementing strict measures to prevent the introduction of exotic animal and poultry diseases into the United States.

Before You Import

It is essential for you to familiarize yourself with the specific guidelines provided by the USDA to determine if your animal products fall under the purview of regulation. Mercury can assist you with this and answer any questions.

When a Veterinary Permit is Needed

A USDA veterinary permit is generally required for materials derived from animals or those exposed to animal-source materials. This permit ensures that imported goods undergo proper scrutiny before entering the country. According to the USDA, a veterinary permit* is required for:

  • Animal tissues: Includes organs, cells, and biological specimens from livestock or poultry.
  • Blood and cell lines: Samples from livestock or poultry
  • RNA/DNA extracts: Genetic materials from animals
  • Hormones and enzymes: Animal-sourced substances 
  • Monoclonal antibodies for non-human species
  • Polyclonal antibodies, antisera, and test kit reagents
  • Microorganisms: Bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi


Imports That Don't Require Import Permit

Per USDA**, the following Materials Don’t Require an Import Permit into the United States:

  • Human and Veterinary Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines
  • Non-Human Primate Material
  • Feline and Canine Material
  • Live Laboratory Mammals and their Material
  • Amphibians, Fish, Reptiles and Aquatic Species
  • Chemically Synthesized Materials
  • Importation of Lactose and Lactose Derivatives
  • Microbially Produced Materials
  • Movement Conditions for Certain Swine Products and Swine Byproducts from Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands to Continental United States
  • Recombinant Microbes and Their Products
  • Non-pathogenic Micoorganisms (and their extracts)
  • Pet Chews and Treats Made of Antlers or Rawhide
  • Cell Cultures/Lines, Recombinant Cell Cultures/Lines and Their Products (for in vitro use)
  • Self-Contained Test Kits Containing Animal-Derived Ingredients
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Histopathological Fixed Slides

Animal Specimen Import Assistance in the United States

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